INDIANAPOLIS––Despite a large crowd gathered around the potential first round draft choice on Sunday, Stephon Gilmore spoke barely above a whisper while not appearing to particularly enjoy all the attention he was receiving.
He was speaking to the assembled group of media at the NFL Combine, microphones necessarily jammed in his face to pick up his barely audible voice. Gilmore acknowledged he was naturally soft spoken.
"That's the type of person I am," said Gilmore at Lucas Oil Stadium. "But once I'm on the field I'm different. I'm not going to try to be something that I'm not off the field."
Between the lines, he's a beast, a slightly smaller version of the Packers' Charles Woodson. Gilmore is 6-0, 190 pounds compared to Woodson's 6-1, 202 pound stature, but their style of play is similar.
The comparison between the two has been made by many Draft analysts, and the South Carolina cornerback concurred.
"I like Woodson a lot because he can play outside and inside and he takes pride in tackling," said Gilmore. "He's a smart player, and he blitzes a lot. I like to blitz."
Anyone who knows Woodson knows about his physical nature, how he's not afraid to mix it up at the line of scrimmage, tackle bigger running backs head on and attack quarterbacks dropping back to pass.
The same goes for Gilmore who actually led the Gamecocks in tackles his sophomore season in 2010 with 79, a rather rare feat for a cornerback.
"I like to tackle a lot," said Gilmore. "I think most corners don't like to tackle. I like to make plays on the ball, and sometimes I try to strip the ball. I just try to be a complete corner."
Over the course of his collegiate career, Gilmore has racked up some impressive statistics that include 181 tackles, seven sacks, seven interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
And that's only through three years. Gilmore is a junior entrant into the NFL Draft and is vying to be the third cornerback taken after LSU's Morris Claiborne and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. He's part of the next tier that includes North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins and Virginia's Chase Minnifield.
For as much as Gilmore resembles Woodson, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that the Packers could select him to be Woodson's eventual replacement.
Woodson will be entering his 15th year in the NFL in 2012 and although he was voted a first-team All-Pro selection and tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with seven, his coverage skills have diminished.
Around him, fellow cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields had down years as well. The Packers gave up the most passing yards in NFL history due to a combination of poor pass rush and lacking coverage.
Green Bay will be looking to bolster their defense during the Draft in April and Gilmore very well could be available with the 28th overall pick.
Gilmore said he believed he had an interview scheduled with the Packers on Sunday at the Combine. And as far as the workouts go, Gilmore impressed on Tuesday. He ran a 4.40 40, a time bettered by only two other cornerbacks (UCF's Josh Robinson and LSU's Ron Brooks).
Amazingly, Gilmore's best days might still be ahead of him. He was a high school quarterbacks that shifted to defense once in college where he played for only three years. But he thinks that can be used to his advantage.
"You understand what other quarterbacks are trying to do to you," said Gilmore, "so you move to defense and you'll be that far ahead."
- Like Like
- 0 points